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 The Shapeshifter

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Miss Nile
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PostSubject: The Shapeshifter    Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:29 pm

Well, this is a story I actually started writing back in February. XD But then college started before I got the chance to finish it and all so here I am, attempting to do so. The story is supposed to be in 5 or 6 chapters, and I have three done. Hopefully, I can finish it sometime soon. XD

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The Shapeshifter
  By Miss Nile
  Part I
 “They are defeated at last,” her husband whispered softly in her ears, and her arms were wrapped tightly around him in the first embrace in a long time. “I won’t have to leave you again, Anjela...So don’t cry.”

  His arms held her closer, but he probably didn’t know that there were many reasons for her tears. Those were tears of happiness mixed with those of sadness, of loneliness and even those of fear...And only feeling those tears on her cheeks brought her even closer into his arms, as though his warmth were enough to chase those feelings away.

  He reached with his hands gently to cup her chin and gazed right through her eyes, his fingers moving at the same time to her cheeks to wipe her tears, as he continued to whisper softly, “The war is over. I am back now. There is no fear anymore, so I won’t forgive your tears unless they’re tears of happiness for my return.”

  Anjela could do nothing but give him a genuine smile that contained all the words she could ever speak. “Yes, you’re back, Dmitri. You’re back safe and sound...You’re back!”

  Although she had been holding him for a few minutes, she jumped at him in a refreshed, new hug that Dmitri couldn’t help but twirl her around as their laughter filled the room. Her fear of losing him, her prayers every night when he was away that he returned safely, the moments her heart would skip a beat every time they announced losses in their sides-those were all over, for her Dmitri was back to her, the war was over, and they had won.

So, why did things have to end up like this?

That was months ago.

 Now she was standing in the middle of the crowd, watching as her beloved husband was being humiliated in front of them all, as he walked slowly with his head low to Her Majesty, the queen. He looked so weak it tore her heart; he looked so sick she wanted to reach out to him, hold him and comfort him. But yet his eyes had a look of strength and pride in them that forced her to remain just as strong, to hold back her own tears and pretend she was a nonchalant passer-by, who watched the scene as if it weren’t their problem.

 The queen, a little girl who ascended the throne after her father, the previous king was killed in the war. Young in looks, her innocence and childlike appearance were nothing but misleading, for her heart was much older and harsher to the point that established her as “the Cruel Queen,” despite having ruled only some months. However, no one of her people had witnessed her ‘cruelness’ before their very eyes before that day.

 “Look at you, pathetic, humiliated, dishonored, disgraced and shamed...Your sight disgusts me,” were the first words uttered by Her Majesty as three chained soldiers made their way to her and then were forced to kneel, keeping their heads low. Anjela’s eyes only focused on her Dmitri, but her face didn’t betray any hidden feelings.

 “But then,” the queen continued, refusing to spare the doomed soldiers any sympathy or honor in their last moments, “Isn’t that what you deserve? Yes, the least you deserve for your horrible deed. To kill the king and queen of the devils’ world...To be a reason for the destruction of that world...Don’t you think that’s a horrible deed? Don’t you think it is, people?!”

 The crowd that had been motionlessly beholding until then only stepped back in fear, but none uttered a single word. Yes, even that little girl could look frightening, but Anjela’s eyes only focused on her Dmitri.  She had known of his deed. He had told her on that very night when he made it back; that along with his comrades, he took the lives of King Forbesii of the devils’ world, and his queen. However, he also told her that he regretted it, that he didn’t want it, and that he didn’t approve of the whole war in the first place...But what could a mere soldier do but follow the orders?

 She cried so much that night.

  Before long, the queen was ready with her sword in hand to execute the soldiers by herself. It was over quickly-Anjela had watched as Her Majesty approached the love of her life and coldly stabbed him through the chest, right through his heart, killing him in an instant. His death was probably physically painless, but Anjela knew the pain wasn’t in the blade as much as it was in the humiliation, of being viewed by everyone as a criminal for a deed he didn’t commit willingly.

  His body dropped to the ground at Her Majesty’s feet, his blood staining her shoes, and she looked down at it with no sympathy in her eyes, only disgust. Then she raised her head, a proud, victorious look in her eyes as she eyed her frightened audience-Anjela imagined that she had looked at her for a moment.

“Behold, people of mighty Cephiron!” The queen exclaimed, raising her now bloodstained sword high in the air, “And there, the soldiers responsible for the killings of the devils’ rulers gone!  And anyone else who dares to think of hurting another in this country or outside it would be punished the same, for we want peace and happiness, but we take no mercy on those who go outside it. And I, Queen Lisianthus of the gods’ world, would punish those people myself if I had to, just like I have done now!”

 The crowd was silent, for fear and shock were the only feelings around. If she had turned to look around, Anjela would have seen those feelings clearly in their eyes, but her eyes only focused on the queen before her on the stage. Her own eyes-those gentle eyes that Dmitri had loved gazing into-only bore determination and strength. Her hands-those soft hands that he long caressed before-slowly moved to the belly large in front of her, bearing the last thing Dmitri had left her, caressing it as Dmitri would have if he were alive anymore. The only thing left alive from him-a baby girl growing slowly inside of her.

 She’ll raise the child, and she’ll avenge her father.

 It was very quiet that night. Anjela was alone. It was very late. Her mother had stayed with her for the whole day after she had returned from the public execution, but Anjela pressed her to leave at night despite her mother’s protests. So in the end, she reluctantly left her daughter by herself, promising to return early in the morning.

  “You haven’t shed a tear since they took him away, darling,” her mother had worriedly told her, “It’s not right to lock your feelings inside like that. Cry, sweetie. There’s nothing wrong or shameful about crying. Cry your heart out; your mother is right here for you.”

  But Anjela didn’t cry. It wasn’t like she was holding back anything; in fact, she wished to cry. Perhaps it would ease her pain? But no tears came to her eyes. She was a strong woman, yes, calm and composed. But even she had to cry in such a situation. So why wasn’t she crying?


  She was sitting in bed, holding the belly in her arms as if she were cradling the baby inside. She had already decided on a name for her too-she had a lost sister; she was lost in the war and no one knew if she were alive or dead. She had never met her; they only shared the same father and her sister didn’t even know about her existence. Despite that, she had longed to meet her if only once.

 The sounds of footsteps.

  In that quiet night, even soft footsteps could be heard. But those weren’t soft footsteps. They were rough, hurried footsteps just outside her home. They moved swiftly, and through the dark night, Anjela thought she could see torches from the window pass by. But by the time she reached it to look outside, she could see and hear nothing. Thinking it was just her imagination; she went back to the bed and lay down.

  Her memories shifted from her father and lost sister to her fallen husband. A soft smile escaped her lips inadvertently. How could she not smile when she remembered their first meeting? He wasn’t only a respected soldier in the gods’ army, but also the son of the head of the fire magic department in the Magic Academy. Like his father, he was a skilled fire sorcerer and a talented swordsman. He was the dream knight of many girls who attended the academy; he was perfectly aware of that too.

 Anjela was a talented fire sorceress as well. She had the natural aptitude for it since childhood and once her mother found that in her, she took care of her daughter’s talent and made sure she got the best education at a young age. Her father encouraged her as well, giving her all the support he could. But when she wanted to enroll as a student in the academy, she ran into the proud, snobby Dmitri, who used his position as the son of the head of the fire department to put a condition to her enrollment: to defeat him. Why did he do that? He was a proud one, Dmitri. So when she refused his advances during the few trips she made to the academy to present her papers for enrollment, his pride was hurt.

 And so the battle took place, and she defeated him. In front of hundreds of students, she defeated the prince of many girls’ hearts. But it was also the same moment she had engraved her name in Dmitri’s heart.

  “Burn down the traitors!”

 A scream suddenly echoed through her ears; brought her back to reality as she opened her eyes, only to witness a fire ball making its way through her bedroom’s window, setting the sofa on fire. By the time Anjela sat up, another fire ball had made its way through the same window and the curtains caught the flames mercilessly. Soon enough, the fireballs were more than Anjela could count.

  “By orders of the queen, die! Burn down the traitors!”

  Those screams echoed through the blazes cruelly as Anjela got up from the bed and tried desperately to reach for an exit. Thoughts ran through her head as she began collecting what was happening. ‘The queen’-she was the one behind this. She wasn’t satisfied enough with just killing her husband and had ordered her death as well? But why? What crime had Anjela committed to die? No, she didn’t care about herself. What was her baby’s fault?

  Clutching her belly, she frantically tried to reach the window, hoping she could climb outside, but the burning curtains were an obstacle in her way. She turned to the door and summoning every bit of strength she had in her, she broke it down. How ironic! She was a powerful fire sorceress, but she was running away desperately from fire for her and her baby’s lives.


 Outside the bedroom was worse. The living room was scorching more furiously than the bedroom, for every single piece of furniture had caught fire. The smoke was soon filling the whole house; even the strong, composed Anjela was breaking down. She wasn’t going to make it. She couldn’t find a way out. The fires were surrounding her everywhere, she was quite weak, and the smoke was hastily suffocating her. Why was this happening?
 
 And then it came down.

 As she searched frantically for a way out, the chandelier had given in to the flames and ruthlessly crumbled to the ground. Anjela could only move away in time for it not to fall over her head, but as she avoided getting crushed by the chandelier, she was in time only to have a small closet which was shaken by the chandelier’s fall tumble over and trap her. Fortunately, it didn’t hit her head, but the pain she felt in her belly was immeasurable as the closet fell right over her, and the tears immediately rolled down her cheeks. This wasn’t happening. She had lost her husband only hours ago. She wasn’t losing her baby. She wasn’t losing her house, her life...It wasn’t happening.

 Too weak to even try to get up let alone push the closet over her, Anjela succumbed to her despair, letting the fires and smoke surround her further and drive her to her doom.

To be continued . . .

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PostSubject: Re: The Shapeshifter    Fri Aug 21, 2015 9:47 pm

Yays!  I'm happy to read a new story and it's one about the shapeshifter.  Very Happy  I like how the name Dmitri comes into play in the RP but man, Lisianthus really is cruel here.  O.O

Curious but I'm wondering if towards the end of the story, it'll fast forward to the present time when the shapeshifter meets Alex.  Wink

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Last edited by phoenixgirl on Sat Aug 22, 2015 3:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Shapeshifter    Sat Aug 22, 2015 1:39 am

Thanks. ^^

Hmm I don't think the story will catch up with this part but I will see about it. XD

I'll post the next part soon as it is ready and all. ^^

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PostSubject: Re: The Shapeshifter    Sat Aug 22, 2015 2:25 pm

The Shapeshifter
  By Miss Nile
  Part II
 
  She sat down in front of the mirror and gazed at her reflection; pale skin, emerald green eyes, and silky blue hair that reached a little past her shoulders; before that fire, she would have been called a pretty picture. Dmitri had long complimented her on her beauty, and it was why he tried to flirt with her on their very first meeting that day in the academy. He was especially fond of her eyes, often had he called them a ‘pair of rare jewels that must be treated with extensive care,’ that he would be quite careful not to upset her and cause her to cry-perhaps that was why Anjela shed tears a lot less often.

 But that beauty was cruelly taken away after the fire. The pale skin that many had compared to that of a porcelain doll was forever disfigured by an ugly scar that covered the left side of her face. Her left eye was miraculously saved, but the green jewel didn’t fit what surrounded it anymore. The scars not only covered half of her face, but the left half of her body was completely scarred as well, through her neck, arms and hands.

 The true scar wasn’t there though. Her hands slowly moved to where a small baby had once lived, before she was ruthlessly taken away from her mother. She had put all her hopes for a future in that baby girl, promising her a wonderful life, even if she had to grow up without her father. She was going to spend every possible effort so her little girl would live happily and grow healthily; even if Dmitri was taken away from her, as long as she had the baby, she could look towards the future with a strong smile.

So, why did things have to end up like this?

 It was then when she felt a touch over the hands on her belly, and as she snapped out of her thoughts, her eyes faced her mother’s. She had quietly approached her, it seemed, and was holding Anjela’s hands in her own, looking gently at her daughter.

 “Darling, why did you get up? You haven’t recovered completely yet, my dear. Here, let me take you back to the bed.”

 “I’m fine, mother,” Anjela quietly replied, and forced a tiny smile to her mother in an attempt to reassure her. “It’s been a couple of weeks. I won’t remain in bed for the rest of my life.”

 Her mother sighed, seemingly admitting the truth of her daughter’s words, and after caressing her hands gently for a moment, she replied, “I know, darling. I suppose...I can’t easily forget the sight engraved so well in my memory. It’s as though it’s right before me now; you unconscious under that closet, the fire surrounding you everywhere and the blood all around you...When I first laid my eyes on you then, I thought I lost you forever.”

 Her mother’s hand slowly moved to Anjela’s cheek and caressed it lovingly, before she brought her into her arms, fighting back her own tears. Anjela had to be grateful for the presence of those arms around her; what could she have done if her mother hadn’t been there for her? After she lost her husband, when she rescued her from the fire and now, when she had no one else to rely on-her mother was always there.

 “You came just in time, mother,” she softly murmured as she returned the hug gratefully, “Yes, you came just in time to save my life...But what good is it now?”

  The tender mother looked taken aback by the last comment, and even Anjela regretted immediately letting it slip. But it had come out quite inadvertently, as though she had finally found someone she could cry her pain to.

 “Goodness, don’t talk like that, darling, don’t talk like that,” her mother replied and hugged her closer, as though she were afraid she would lose her only daughter if she let go. “You’re alive, Anjela, and you’re alive for a reason. I know you feel like you’ve lost everything and there’s no hope for life anymore, but Heavens kept you alive for a reason, darling. Heavens sent me that night to find you in the right time. Heavens made that closet fall over you and protect most of your body from the fires. It’s all for a reason, darling.”

 She stroked her daughter’s hair as she spoke those words softly, hoping that if logic couldn’t find its way into her mind, the love in her gestures could. Anjela had only a blank stare over her face, her mind wandering off far beyond that word, ‘reason.’

 “The other families...What happened to them?” She asked softly after a couple of moments had passed, and a look of disappointment formed over her mother’s face only momentarily, for she thought her daughter completely disregarded her previous words. Deciding to answer her question though, the mother sighed sadly as she replied,  

 “One family was lucky-they were staying over at a relative’s house that night, although their house was burned down, of course. However, the other soldier’s family...”

 Her pained face told Anjela all she needed to know, but her mother continued after a breath, “The mother, the wife and two baby boys...All killed.”

 Anjela broke her mother’s hug then, and turned her gaze to the mirror again, looking at the scars covering her face. Even those scars, no matter how much disfiguring, looked pathetic to what she had just heard; nothing to the loss she was enduring. And then it came to her.

“By orders of the queen, burn down the traitors!”
“A reason she was alive.”


 “Why was Dmitri executed, mother?” And the question was softly murmured from her lips. Her mother looked surprised, and after a moment she could only reply with, “Darling, you really need to rest...”

 “He was executed because he killed the king and queen of the devils’ world, right? Even though he just acted on orders and wouldn’t have killed them willingly, isn’t that true?” Her daughter continued, a hint of determination slowly forming in her voice, although the mother was confused where this was heading. She only nodded her head, and Anjela continued,

 “He wouldn’t have killed them willingly...After all; he knew that the king was my father.”

 The mother probably misunderstood her girl’s intentions, because alarmed, she quickly said,

“What are you saying, sweetie? Of course that’s the case. Dmitri would have never laid a hand on the king and queen if he could help it. But those were orders from the king at that time, he couldn’t act against them. A soldier doesn’t think about his orders, darling, he only makes them come true.”

 She paused for a moment, then quietly continued, “And Dmitri told you himself that he made sure he didn’t actually use his sword to kill them. He was the captain of the battalion that attacked the castle back then, and although he led the operation, he didn’t actually kill your father.”

 Anjela nodded slowly as she continued gazing at her reflection in the mirror, and quietly said, “I know...But that’s nothing of what I meant, mother.”

 Her mother was genuinely confused, and decided to remain silent until her daughter made things clearer. Clenching her fists, Anjela continued, “If Dmitri were executed because of a crime he was forced to commit, then why should the queen continue to live when she willingly and knowingly killed these people? Why, when she’s nothing but the cruel, ruthless queen? Why should Dmitri and my little baby be taken away from me and she continue to live happily and peacefully?”

 Her mother continued to maintain the confused look on her face, but only for a moment, before realization sank in and she understood where Anjela was heading with this. Confusion was replaced by fear as she replied, “Darling, no. I am not going to let you do anything dangerous. I know you lost a lot lately and fate has been only cruel to you, but this is madness.”

 Anjela finally turned away from the mirror, looked sharply at her mother and angrily said,

 “The only madness would be if I let her go after everything she’d done. She ruined my life, mother. She didn’t just kill my husband-she wanted to have me dead and she killed my baby, the only hope I had for a life after Dmitri. Tell me, if I won’t live to avenge my fallen husband and child, what will I live for?”

 “For me, your mother,” the said mother tearfully said, and her arms surrounded her daughter once again, hugging her tightly. “Why aren’t you thinking about me? I-I’ve lost your father after the war...perhaps he wasn’t always with us, but the times he’d come to visit and stay with us were enough to give me safety and happiness for a long time. And my heart is breaking to witness my only child suffering like this, but I won’t bear to lose her as well.”

 She broke down in tears, and held Anjela even closer. At that moment, there was nothing Anjela could do but return the hug and wrap her arms around her mother as well. Any words she would speak would be useless then, so she could only hold her in her arms, comforting her as much as she could.

 But she wasn’t backing off.

 Her mother eventually calmed down, and looking straight into Anjela’s eyes, she replied firmly, “If I hear such talk again from you, Anjela, I won’t forgive you. I won’t bear to lose you too. Understood?”

 Anjela sighed, and reached out to hold her mother's hand in hers, then gently said, “You’re the one who has to understand me, mother. My husband Dmitri, and my little baby...I won’t let them die like that. No, I can’t do that. The queen who has murdered them both-she has to pay. She has to die just like they died, mother.”

 Her tone was firm and determined that even her mother faltered, but she didn’t stop. Frowning, she continued with only increasing strength, “I can’t live another day peacefully and pretend nothing happened. I can’t go on and forget that Dmitri was executed in front of Cephiron’s people as a criminal for a crime he didn’t want to commit. I can’t forget the baby who was growing inside of me and was taken away!”

 
Her mother went silent as she observed her daughter, trembling as emotions built up inside of her, but showing no signs of weakness. She went on, “For me, mother...for me who was killed even though I had nothing to do with anything. My only fault was that I was Dmitri’s wife. I need to avenge myself, too. And you have to understand, because I won’t let anyone stop me.”

 Stopping her indeed was out of question, although her mother probably didn’t need to be told that, for the look inside Anjela’s eyes told her everything. She sighed in defeat, and quietly asked,

“And how do you intend to do that? I am not underestimating you, darling, but...you’re only a fire sorceress. Even if I help you, despite our strength, do you think we can just break into the castle, grab the queen and kill her? Trust me, my darling, she would have been killed a long time ago if it was this easy.”

 Anjela looked saddened and lost for a moment as her mother hit her with reality, and as soon as her mother noticed it, she was about to use that to her advantage to try to change her daughter’s mind, but Anjela suddenly looked hopeful, as though she remembered something very important. Softly, she murmured as though she were talking to herself,

“That’s right...I need a new ability then. A rare ability, a power that people scarcely hear of...something even the queen herself wouldn’t expect.”

“What are you talking about?”

 Anjela softly said, “I know of a woman...Dmitri knew. She’s a witch, literally. She was a distant relative of Dmitri’s and although he didn’t like her, he said his father was quite fond of her in his life and on his deathbed, he asked Dmitri to check on her regularly after he was gone. Such a witch...I know where she lives. And I know she must have something in mind to help me with.”

 Her mother sighed, and thought her daughter had lost her mind, hanging on to hope that wasn’t there. She was about to speak her mind, but the desperate look Anjela had in her eyes made her decide against it, and instead she said, “It...won’t hurt to give it a try, I suppose.”

 Her daughter smiled softly at her, silently thanking her.

 She definitely wasn’t backing off.


 
To be continued . . .

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PostSubject: Re: The Shapeshifter    Sun Aug 23, 2015 4:49 am

Reading this story so far makes me have more sympathy for the shapeshifter.  I can see where her need for revenge comes from.  I kind of wish we could see things from Lisianthus' point of view as well when the events took place but I can see why that can't be the case.  XD

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PostSubject: Re: The Shapeshifter    Wed Aug 26, 2015 5:37 pm

The Shapeshifter
  By Miss Nile
  Part III

  Lady Penelope Cornbirds was the head of the light magic department in the Magic Academy of Cephiron, one of the largest magic academies in the gods’ world, and well-known even in the humans’ and devils’ worlds. A powerful, experienced sorceress since her young days-she persuaded even the strict council of the academy, who usually refused any outsiders as teachers and limited the position only to students who graduated from the academy itself, to accept to enroll her for the job. She didn’t stop at that, and made her way skillfully through the promotions until she became the head of the department.

 She was brought up in the devils’ world. Her parents were both devils, but she was born a god like her maternal grandmother. It was intriguing, how peacefully gods and devils lived before. The two worlds were connected as if they were one, their people communicated and mingled together as if they were all the same, and it wasn’t rare at all to find a god married to a devil and living happily in either world.

 Her parents were noble and rich, her father a light magic sorcerer and her mother a white healer, so naturally, their daughter inherited both parents’ talents and powers. Her being a god didn’t make her stand out even in the court of the devils’ kingdom when she accompanied one of her parents to the castle occasionally, well-known as she was as Miss Cornbirds, the sweet little girl who grew up to be a beautiful, graceful young woman.

 Her occasional visits to court grew more regular as she matured and her parents looked forward to bringing her up into a valuable young noblewoman. It wasn’t a surprise that one day, she would run into the Prince Valor Forbesii, heir to the throne of the devils’ world, and the two birds would fall madly in love. He was a prince, she was a wealthy noblewoman; there seemed no obstacles in their blossoming romance. The prince was turning eighteen soon, and according to the laws of the devils’ royalty, he had to choose a bride. But youth was foolish, and the young couple couldn’t wait until the prince’s eighteenth birthday. Blinded by their passion and romance, they married in secret with only a few trustworthy friends of the prince’s as witnesses, to enjoy a happy, blessed life for a few months.

 But a secret like that couldn’t remain a secret forever. As the prince’s birthday approached and his mother, the queen, pressed him to choose a worthy bride, he had to reveal that he had already chosen long ago. This was enough to shock the queen and much to her dismay, but the name of his bride sent her beyond rage.

His bride was Penelope Cornbirds, a god.

 Would she have accepted her if she were a devil? There was no way to tell, and the only thing the couple was sure of that the queen ordered the marriage to be broken.

 There was no way to change the queen’s mind or make her soften. She had nothing personal against Penelope, yes, she admitted, that she was a perfect, proper young lady of noble, wealthy status, graceful manners and heavenly beauty. Had she been a devil, she would have not found a more suitable bride for the heir of the devils’ world, but she was not.

 The devils’ world was different from the gods’ world in that regard. Both worlds’ people could marry into each other as they liked, but royalty was different. It was a strict rule between the devils-heirs and sons had to marry devils, to ensure that all offspring continued being devils. What would the world do if a god heir was born? How could a god rule the devils?

 Valor naturally knew of this rule, and it was part of the reason he had married Penelope secretly. He had hoped to break the rule and change the traditions by putting his marriage to her as a matter of fact, but his mother wouldn’t falter because of such a thing, and her orders to stop the marriage were not to be disobeyed.

 And so it was done. Penelope and Valor divorced secretly as they had married secretly, with the difference that the parents of the young couple knew this time. The public never knew a word of it-to them, Prince Valor was still the young prince who was about to choose a bride before celebrating his eighteenth birthday and no more.

 Penelope was heartbroken, and so was Valor. Shortly after, Valor was chosen a bride; a beautiful and wealthy noblewoman with the trait Penelope lacked-she was a devil. The couple was wedded in a glamorous celebration a little after the prince’s birthday and in a matter of months, the queen passed away, passing her throne to her son who became King Forbesii from that moment on.

 Penelope’s parents found it quite awkward to remain in court after their daughter’s marriage and quick divorce. Perhaps no one knew about it except a very few, but to be around the former husband and son-in-law who had become king was absolutely embarrassing. Thus, they moved to the gods’ world, where they could be more comfortable away from the eyes who recognized them, maintaining their wealthy statuses by depending on their abilities as powerful light magic users.

 Although this should have been a point when Penelope would move on and forget Valor, try to build a new life, she couldn’t even if she wanted to. A while after the family had moved to the gods’ world, Penelope gave birth to a baby girl, a devil like her father.

  Penelope doesn’t remember the little details of when she had to reach the king to let him know of the news, that he was the father to a little girl she had borne. All she could remember was that the king was surprised, but not unpleasantly so, and in a matter of few days, he arrived in the gods’ world to see her. His wife then wasn’t even pregnant yet, despite being married for some months, and the king had secretly told Penelope before that she suffered from health problems that delayed such pregnancy, but the healers were doing their best to cure it.

 There were little details that Penelope couldn’t forget, however. The twinkling she witnessed in the king’s eyes the first time he lifted the baby in his arms and the joy in his voice as he complimented how beautiful she looked. She inherited her mother’s green eyes and her father’s blue hair, and had soft skin as white as the snow. ‘Anjela,’ they named her after the king’s mother, the deceased queen of the devils’ world.

  Little Anjela and Penelope became the king’s responsibility from then on. Despite his burdens and busy schedules as a king, he made sure to make time for his first baby, visiting the mother and the daughter every three months and staying with them for at least a couple of days. It wasn’t much, but the king would make the best of those two days, spending his whole time with his daughter, talking to her, playing with her and trusting her with even his secrets.

 Five years after Anjela’s birth, the king received another baby girl from his wife, announced as the heir to the throne and the future queen of the devils’ world. Penelope didn’t know why, but the king’s attentions to his elder Anjela increased after the birth of his other baby girl. Was it guilt? Perhaps, for after all, Anjela should have been heir as the king’s eldest daughter, but as no one in the kingdom knew of her existence, there was no way to announce her so.


 Naturally and to Penelope’s pleasure, her little Anjela was quite fond of her father. Him being away and only visiting them for a small time every once in a while didn’t bother her. She never resented him for not being his heir, although it could have been called her right.  She was never saddened by the fact that no one knew of her existence in the devils’ world, that she had a sister and a family who weren’t aware that the king had another daughter. She was quite content having him for the few times he could stay with her.

 Thus, it was quite natural as well, that it would be such a shock to her daughter to know that her father was mercilessly killed in the war just as she was turning twenty.

 And that her beloved husband was responsible for it, acting on orders from the king of the gods’ world.

 She cried so much that night.

 Penelope wasn’t any less shocked, for through the long years she lived, she had never fallen in love with another man but her Valor. She was more composed, or at least appeared so, than her daughter, taking the news more steadily. But inside, that was enough to weaken her will for life, and her Anjela was the only one she continued to live for.

 “Are you really going?” Lady Penelope asked with a weary face, as she gazed at her daughter, who was putting on a dark cloak and pulled a big hood over her head, covering all her features.

 “I’m sorry, mother,” her daughter replied quietly, now with her expressions all hidden under the hood, “I have no choice. That witch said it was the only way the potion would work-otherwise it’s pretty useless. My fire magic will help me on my journey; I’ll gather all that I could ever need no matter what the obstacles.”

 Lady Penelope rose to her feet, and slowly walked to her daughter, reaching through the darkness of the hood to caress her cheeks tenderly. Even the rough touch of the burn scars felt soft under her hands  compared to the grief she felt inside. Was she losing her daughter too?

  “Let me come with you, my child,” she softly said to her, the tears forming in her eyes but refusing to trickle yet, “I’ll of a help. I’ll support you, take care of you, never leave you...Let me come.”

 Her daughter shook her head, and firmly replied in a tone that was becoming usual of her ever since her house’s fire,

 “No, mother. This is my battle to fight. I can’t have anyone’s help. Not even you, mother.”

The tears finally trickled, as Lady Penelope frantically replied, “I’m not ‘anyone,’ Anjela. I can’t leave you alone. I can’t let you go like this,” she was silenced by her daughter’s gentle hold on her shoulders, and her soft words,
“I can’t lose you too, mother. I’ve lost enough.”

 “I can’t lose you either, my darling,” her words were as quiet as a whisper, and she instinctively drew her daughter closer into her arms as she broke down. The only feeling that washed over her heart with a little relief was feeling her daughter’s arms return the embrace and whisper,

“You won’t lose me, mother. Not now. I’ll come back. I promise you that I will.”

 She broke the hug and kissed her mother’s forehead softly, and before Lady Penelope could utter a word more, she had bowed and left hurriedly, taking on her journey.

 Her mother could only watch her helplessly, whispering over and over,

“Protect her, dear heavens. Protect my only child. Bring her back to me safely.”

   To be continued . . .

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PostSubject: Re: The Shapeshifter    Wed Aug 26, 2015 9:36 pm

I'm happy to read a new chapter.  It was interesting to learn about Lady Penelope's background.  I am curious to know what happened to Nerine's grandfather.  He was never mentioned so I'm wondering if he was opposed to the mixed marriage as well.

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The Shapeshifter
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